Bali, Indonesia is such a popular tourist destination for many reasons. It’s one of those places that has managed to keep its culture and tradition intact even in these modern times, but it has also been very open to other influences that have made it a kind place that feels welcoming and familiar even to inexperienced travelers.
There is more to Bali than just its beautiful beaches, too. Not only does it offer great good (FYI: you’ll love it here if you’re a fan of spicy dishes!), it also has wonderful landmarks that look like they’ve been pulled straight out of a postcard. Are you thinking of including Bali in your travel bucket list this year? Here’s a three-day itinerary that will have you covered!
Day 1: Countryside Tour
Coffee Tasting at Pure Luwak Coffee Bali
What better way to start the day than with a strong cup (or six) of coffee? Bali has a pretty strong coffee culture and it is particularly proud of its Kopi Luwak, its own version of Kapeng Alamid here in the Philippines. Dropping by at Pure Luwak Coffee Bali is a definite treat for any caffeine lover since you can learn how this particular coffee is made—and enjoy various types of coffees and teas for free! The place offers a free tasting session of a unique selection of drinks like hibiscus tea and avocado flavored coffee, but it does charge a bit for a cup of Kopi Luwak. You can buy any of their drinks in their small shop if you want!
Wanagiri Hidden Hills
So much of how the world knows Bali is through its amazing landscapes. Anyone who ‘lives for the feed’ will never find a shortage of good photo spots to snap a shot or two here, especially in its countryside where you can find most of its remarkable landmarks.
Now, if you’ve ever made your research about Bali, chances are you’ve seen at least one or two photos of its infamous wooden hanging nests where you can pose against an amazing landscape. The place where this magic happens is at Wanagiri Hidden Hills, Bali’s very own version of Tagaytay, chilly weather and all. Here, you can find different set-ups of hanging nests and bridges where you can pose against for a fee of 65,000 IDR (about 240 PHP). The people managing the place can take your photos if you want (they’re real professionals about it!) and it’s up to you if you want to give them a tip on top of the entrance fee you’ll have to pay.
One of the most common structures you will see when you explore Bali are split gates or Candi Bentar, an important feature in the temple architecture in the area. They serve to mark the entrances to areas and symbolize the division between holy grounds and the outside world.
Among the most popular ones on the island is Handara Gate which is actually the entrance to a resort and golf course. You can take photos in the area for free if you’re staying at the property, but you have to pay 30,000 IDR (about PHP112) if you’re just going to take photos in front of it. Many tourists looking to find a perfect spot choose to just visit this gate over the equally popular Lempuyang Gate because it has shorter lines compared to the latter—where you need to wake up as early as 4 AM to line up for a photo! You do have to be patient while waiting for your turn, though, since there is no limit as to how many photos the guests can take during their time in front of the gate.
Tanah Lot and Pura Batu Bolong
Tanah Lot is a popular temple in the countryside that is part of many Balinese mythologies. It means “Land [in the] Sea,” a fitting name for a temple that is built on an offshore crop of rock surrounded by shallow water that opens up into the sea. The temple is a favorite go-to of tourists and can get especially busy during the hour leading up to sunset because of its wonderful golden hours. Another noteworthy temple in the area is the Pura Batu Bolong which also sits on a long bridge of rock overlooking the ocean. The entrance to the temple area costs 60,000 IDR (about PHP223).
Day 2: Ubud Tour
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Ubud is Bali’s center of dance, art, and traditional crafts. Compared to its neighboring towns like Seminyak with its hotels and stores, Ubud is dotted with greeneries and rice paddies like the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, a lush field bordered by a palm forest. It is also home to the infamous Bali swings, a must-try activity on the island where you can choose from the extreme swing, the super extreme swing, and the couple’s swing. Entrance to the property managing the swings are free, but you do have to pay for your turn depending on your choice of swing. The extreme swing costs 150,000 IDR (about PHP560) for twelve pushes that will have you flying over the fields (don’t worry, you will be given a harness, so it’s safe!).
Batik, Art, Gold, and Silver Shopping
In addition to its picturesque landscapes, Ubud is also the center of art, gold, and silver craftsmanship in Bali. There are a lot of private shops that you can visit in the area where you can enter and explore for free, with each shop assigning a salesperson to your group who will explain their processes on how they create and develop their products. Batik is a very popular product in this town and you can choose from the genuine handpainted ones to the more affordable machine-printed varieties. Gold and silver jewelry is also in demand in the place, with many shops selling delicate and authentic pieces.
Tirta Empul is a water temple where one can visit for water purification. Its most popular spot is the rectangular purification bath which houses elaborately sculpted spouts where holy water from the mountains flows. For a fee, you can change into the provided robes of the temple and go into the pool where you have to express your solemn prayers in front of each spout, hands pressed together, before briefly bathing in the water. Those who want to get purified have to do the same process 13 times following the spouts lined up on the pool from west to east. Tip: bring your own towel if you’re planning to go into the pool since the establishment doesn’t offer them.
Day 3: Seminyak Adventure
Double Six Beach
While Ubud can be easily considered as the more hip and local part of Bali, Seminyak is the place to be if you’re planning to chill out at the beach or do some hardcore partying. It is also common for a lot of tourists to have this town as their last stop during their trip because it is less than an hour's ride from the airport.
Double Six Beach, with its stretch of golden sand and shore dotted by colorful bean bags, is the perfect place to be if you’re looking to relax during the day and spend it under the sun. The shore is also lined up with a wide variety of restaurants (try La Plancha!) so provisions won’t be a problem during your visit.
Balinese Massage at DeNyuh Spa
Will a Bali trip ever be complete without trying its world-famous massage? Give your muscles the love it deserves after all the exploring you’ve done by visiting DeNyuh Spa, a small but well-reviewed place on top of Grandmas Hotel in Seminyak. The place is very well-known for its affordable but high-quality services—you can get a massage, facial, and body scrub set here for only 185,000 IDR (about PHP840)! You have to make sure that you secure your booking at least a day before your appointment though because this place gets so booked!
Souvenir Shopping at Krisna Oleh Oleh
Shopping in outside markets can get a little stressful in Bali because shop owners usually give high prices for their fare, so it’s better to go to a fixed price shop like Khrisna for souvenirs if you’re not that experienced with haggling. Khrisna is a sprawling complex in Sunset Road where you can get everything you could ever think of—the shop has a wide variety of products from coffee and bags to body butters and jewelry! Do bring your own reusable shopping bags when you visit. Shopping here can get so addictive that we’re pretty sure you’ll be hauling off dozens of souvenirs by the time you finish.
A true institution in Bali’s partying scene, Motel Mexicola is the place to be if you’re looking for some good old’ partying. The place is popular for its psychedelic interiors and its central dance floor where anyone can just party the night away. For a place that is so packed, it also has exceptional customer service—its servers will always check on you and provide what you need even if you’re only dropping by to eat there. Don’t forget to take a photo at their iconic stairwell!
Some tips during your trip:
Contrary to what many think, Bali is a very big island with many of its destinations sitting hours away from each other. To make your trip smooth, it’s better to rent a local tour guide and driver to help you throughout your itinerary—their services are usually very affordable and they’re all very friendly! This also saves you from the trouble of taking taxis, which can be a tourist trap for many foreigners. Blue Bird taxis are the registered and official ride service on the island, but many copy their branding (in terms of color and logo) that it isn’t uncommon for someone to unwittingly get into one. Fake Blue Bird taxis charge very high fees and usually don’t use meters.
In terms of Grab rides, extra caution needs to be applied when booking them as well. Things are said to have improved a bit now in Bali, but there is a competition among the local taxis, tour guides, and Grab in terms of booking customers. According to a local guide, some Grab drivers in the area are not from Bali, so not only do they contribute to fewer customers for the locals, some of them also paint a negative picture of the guides when they offer tours and don’t exactly deliver in their service. It’s not uncommon for some of the drivers to sometimes request to meet up in a different location from your pinned spot to keep from the eyes of the locals.
Now, in terms of safety, Bali is a peaceful place to be. Pickpocketing, for example, is not that common here, though you do have to take extra caution in Seminyak where burglars are more common because of the level of tourism. Moreover, it is better to bring cash on the island since a lot of its small shops don’t usually accept cards.
Last but not least, slap on your sunblock! Bali is a beautiful place with its sun, sand, and culture, so we recommend that you add it to your travel list ASAP!